Good news for women receiving fertility treatments: a new study published in the Fertility & Sterility Journal found that IVF does not increase a woman’s risk of developing breast or gynecological cancers, reports Reuters Health.
Louise Brinton, the chief of the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch at the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, studied the medical records of nearly 90,000 women and found no increased risk of cancer among the IVF patients.
"The findings were fairly reassuring,” said Brinton, the lead author, in an interview with Reuters Health. “Nothing was significantly elevated." Earlier studies have found a link, but it’s difficult to know if pre-existing conditions that elevate one’s risk of cancer can also make it hard to conceive.
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Researchers did find that a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer rose slightly with more rounds of IVF, but Brinton said that her study was too small to definitively link IVF and ovarian cancer and that the instances of ovarian cancer are very rare.
A similar connection between IVF and ovarian cancer was found in a Swedish study, but Bengt Kallen, the head author, believes that this may be the result of dysfunctional ovaries, not the fertility treatment.
"Infertile women have a primary problem with their ovaries and IVF has nothing to do with it," Kallen said to Reuters Health.
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